Notice Violation Case out of Illinois

That’s right–out of Illinois. According to Westlaw (ICWA & “Indian Child Welfare Act”), there are a grand total of 11 ICWA cases from the Illinois appellate courts.

Here is the most recent. The appeals court reversed and remanded due to ICWA notice violations (for one child–the other was not the biological child of the father):

At the dispositional hearing on April 26, 2011, the trial court found Dwight to be unfit and awarded guardianship of N.L. to DCFS. Among the reports submitted for the court’s consideration was a social history report, dated March 23, 2011, indicating that Dwight is a registered member of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, White Earth Reservation (the Tribe).

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The trial court questioned the State about the children’s eligibility for tribal registry and was advised that the State had already received notices that both minors were ineligible for registry with the Tribe. The State was ordered to provide documentation of its compliance with the statute at the status hearing on December 18. No documents addressing the issue of tribal registry for the minors were submitted at that or any subsequent proceeding until the hearing on the State’s motion to supplement the record during the pendency of this appeal.

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The State’s Tribe letters suggest that the Tribe was provided with the minors’ names and dates of birth and imply that Dwight’s name was provided with reference to N.L. The State’s Tribe letter for N.L is dated September 16, 2011, and that for M.L. is dated February 25, 2013. In its order granting the State’s motion to supplement the record, the court expressed concern with Dwight’s solicitation of new evidence while the case was on appeal. However, many of the documents the State was allowed to include with its supplementation were dated after the termination hearing and after Dwight’s notice of appeal.
Dwight filed a motion with this court to supplement the record with his own Tribe letter– from the same person who had signed the State’s letters– showing that N.L. and M.L. were eligible for tribal membership. He acquired this letter as a result of his solicitation for evidence related to the appeal. This court allowed Dwight to submit his Tribe letter with his case pending our decision of the propriety of its inclusion in the record. Dwight’s Tribe letter states that the minors are eligible for tribal membership and suggests that the Tribe was provided with the dates of birth for both minors, the correct spelling of N.L.’s name, and the names and dates of birth for both Dwight and Emily.

For reference, here’s the list of the Illinois appellate ICWA cases:

1. In re N.L. Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District.    September 09, 2014    — N.E.3d —-    2014 IL App (3d) 140172
2. In re K.T. Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District.    June 07, 2013    2013 IL App (3d) 120969    990 N.E.2d 1260
3. In re D.D., Jr. Appellate Court of Illinois, Third District.    November 05, 2008    385 Ill.App.3d 1053    897 N.E.2d 917
4. In re H.D. Appellate Court of Illinois, Fourth District.    September 30, 2003    343 Ill.App.3d 483    797 N.E.2d 1112
5. In re Cari B. Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District.    February 01, 2002    327 Ill.App.3d 743    763 N.E.2d 917
6. In re C.N. Supreme Court of Illinois.    May 24, 2001    196 Ill.2d 181    752 N.E.2d 1030
7. In re M.S. Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District.    February 05, 1999    302 Ill.App.3d 998    706 N.E.2d 524
8. In re Adoption of S.S. Supreme Court of Illinois.    October 19, 1995    167 Ill.2d 250    657 N.E.2d 935
9. In re Adoption of S.S. Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District.    October 22, 1993    252 Ill.App.3d 33    622 N.E.2d 832
10. Matter of T.I.S. Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division.    December 31, 1991    224 Ill.App.3d 475    586 N.E.2d 690
11. In Interest of Armell Appellate Court of Illinois, First District, Second Division.    January 16, 1990    194 Ill.App.3d 31    550 N.E.2d 1060

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3 Responses to Notice Violation Case out of Illinois

  1. John Lemire says:

    The inconsistency in the Tribal response may be due to the fact that the White Earth Band of Minnesota Chippewa amended their consitutuon from blood quantum to lineal descendency in 2013 and the child(ren) may now be eligible. Sometimes it helps to know what is happening within the Tribe….

  2. ilpc says:

    I thought the same thing, John. I don’t believe that transition has happened yet, however, so I think it’s more likely the state didn’t give the proper spelling of names and correct birth dates (as is common).

  3. John Lemire says:

    Could be–White Earth is a large group, and I don’t know if Illinois or White Earth’s offices are that (in)efficient.
    But here’s an interesting topic–as an enrolled member of a sister Minnesota Chippewa Band (Grand Portage), I am well aware of the sea change in enrollment this involves. A look at the overwhelming approval of the amendment shows they want to move away from blood quantum.
    I was invovled in our Band’s similar discussion a few years back. We were told that unless our Band (only around 1000 members) did not do something, we would shrink to almost nothing by 2040. I felt at the time that nothing would be done–such a change would effect per cap and educational allowances etc. and nothing was done.
    Now we have White Earth, who is also governed (I assume) by the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe constitution going their own way. I don’t know how this will work itself out.
    This goes to the larger question or rather fact–that each Tribe sets their own membership or enrollment criteria without outside interference (but see Freedmen!).
    And this goes to the largest question–who is an Indian??
    Thanks for listening

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